This exhibition of 23 Futurist works on loan from the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome, linked the first and second waves of Futurism through the works of Giacomo Balla (1871-1958). Balla was already well established as an artist and teacher before coming under the influence of Futurism in 1910. His extraordinary versatility and creativity had a profound influence on his contemporaries and the eight canvases on show were from his most vibrant Futurist period.

Balla pioneered an individual abstract style which depicted the essence of speed and movement. Dynamic Expansion + Speed (1913) shows the idea of a moving car as a series of whirling arabesques and Lines of Speed + Form + Noise (1915) continues this theme with the addition of vibrant colours, suggesting rhythm and sound on canvas. Balla’s one-time student, Boccioni, was represented by two portraits of the composer Busoni from 1915 and 1916, which show the additional influence of Cezanne. Works by other first wave Futurists include Russolo’s atmospheric cityscape Lightning and Soffici’s cubist-inspired Synthesis of a Spring Landscape.

Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau on the set of La Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960 © Sergio Strizzi Photography

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Pasquarosa, Vase of Flowers, c. 1916

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